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Updated: Apr 9, 2022

by Peggy McCarthy -

near buckets - aluminium and red plastic,

brimming with well-water and hot cows’ milk,

near drooping fuchsia and bristling heather

grazing my legs when I scouted the hills,

near old photos in the parlour press, faded faces,

their clear American smiles spanning the ocean between us.

And later by factory gates when the hooter blew,

and chimneys spewed the smoky breath of a winter day,

between vinyl threads, the chords sparking,

singing through me their every turning note.

I was born when I mouthed an answer

before the question was formed.

I was born was first published in Southword 41 in 2021.


Peggy McCarthy is an Irish poet who completed her M.A. in Creative Writing at UCC in 2021. She won the Fish Poetry Prize 2020, was shortlisted for The Wells Poetry Prize 2020, and won third place in the Oliver Goldsmith Poetry Prize 2021. She has had work published in Hold Open the Door, A Commemorative Anthology from The Ireland Chair of Poetry 2020 and Southword 41. She was born near Skibbereen in West Cork and lives in Waterford city.

By Phil Lynch -

a wedge of geese

in perfect flight formation

carve their way like arrows through the evening sky

I ask if you have seen them

you tell me no

but that you heard

their plaintive cries,

you tell me you admire their uncompromising

determination to make it

to their destination

you grab hold of me

my feet tread the air

I coast at ease in your trail, our flight path

carved between moon and stars

we make landfall


Phil Lynch lives in Dublin. His work has been published in a range of literary journals and anthologies, most recently: Skylight 47, The Honest Ulsterman, Vox Galvia, The Bangor Literary Journal, Live Encounters Poetry, Days of Clear Light, The Music of What Happens, and 2 Meter Review.

Phil was the winner of the live Intercompetitive Poetry/Spoken Word Competition, and a runner-up in the iYeats Poetry Competition. He was highly commended in The Bangor Lit Journal 40 Words Competition (2021), the Francis Ledwidge Poetry Competition (2021), and short-listed in a number of others. Phil is a regular performer at poetry/spoken word events and festivals in Ireland and has performed at events in the USA, UK, Belgium and France. His collection, In a Changing Light, (Salmon Poetry), was published in 2016

By Pratibha Castle -

As a girl I learnt to wish myself

invisible on the front seat

atop a double decker bus

believed I was a black hole choking

on gossipy fug Players smoke lonely

women’s sighs the clippie perceiving

no-one where I sat lumbering back

along the aisle past the ‘no spitting on buses’ sign

In a spin of schools quick to switch

as a card sharp's chicanery or

my mother’s mood taunts zephyr soft

could never break me for I wasn't there

I applied myself to investigating emptiness

convinced I was the pause in music

between thoughts air

in the hollow bones of birds

a missive spun from clouds

by a swift more luminous than pity

understood by those alone with senses

more than five

Having banished myself dismantled

tooth hair child’s spaniel yelp

grown flimsier than my granny’s ghost

I established how to melt through walls

Day by day my photo on the mantle faded

bleached features growing fainter

like an often-laundered stain

dissolving to a blur

Years on in Regent’s Park there was a man

with eyes that saw I tried to wish myself

anew re-embody muscle flesh

plumping over sternum hips

All I managed was a hand flaccid

as a starling fallen from the clouds

and that man casting not a clout passed on by

left me string-less kite adrift

Be Careful What You Wish first appeared in Ink Sweat and Tears, Day Two of ‘Choice’ for NPD October 8 2021


Pratibha Castle’s award-winning debut pamphlet A Triptych of Birds and A Few Loose Feathers (Hedgehog Poetry Press) was published February 2022. Her work appears in Agenda, HU, Blue Nib, OHC, London Grip, Fragmented Voices amongst others. Highly commended, long-listed and given special mention in competitions including The Bridport Poetry Prize, Welsh Poetry Competition, Gloucestershire Poetry Society Competition, Brian Dempsey Memorial Competition, Sentinel Literary Journal Competition, Storytown Poetry Competition, Pratibha is anthologised, and a regular reader for West Wilts Radio Poetry Place.

A selection of poems and discussion on her life and inspiration can be heard at Home Stage Meet the Poet.

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